The Loh Down On Science

What happens when baby beetles cry wolf will shock you!

You think your family dinners are awkward?  Check this out!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying:
 
Meet the burying beetle—so named because it buries food for later noshing. 
 
Its offspring either eat the buried food directly, or beg from mom and dad.  Parents then regurgitate their food into the kids' mouths. O-kaaay.

Even stranger?  Parents occasionally turn around and eat their kids. Ouch!
 
Biologists in Edinburgh, Scotland, wondered—what’s with all this family drama?

To find out, they monitored a mom with 60 newly-hatched larvae. They found that the most annoying kids—those who begged the most—were 13 times more likely to get eaten than the others.

The team suggests that the risk of being eaten reinforces honest begging.  That’s when babes are truly hungry, and not just vying for attention. 

Or maybe mom and dad are fed up, and just trying to recoup some of those calories they sacrificed to the little beggers!
 
And I thought birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese were ugly!  Hey, you kids keep it down—or no more regurgitated pizza for you!

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.


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